Synopsis by Nathan Southern
Antonio Dorado Z. directs the Spanish-language historical drama El Rey (AKA The King), starring Fernando Solórzano, Cristina Umaña, Olivier Pages, Marion Moreno and Vanessa Simon. The picture - a Colombian-French-Spanish co-production - won the Best Spanish-Language Foreign Film Award at the 2004 Goyas (Spain's equivalent of the Oscars). Though Dorado's film lasts a mere eighty-four minutes, it recounts, in epic form, the entire gestalt of the Colombian drug trafficking movement, from the forties through the present. El Rey opens with the ironic incident of Colombian president's Mariano Ospina Pérez innocuous request for hemp seeds from India, to boost the local economy - a request that accidentally pulled in Cannabis sativa by mistake. It then rolls along to cover such developments as the political violence of the fifties and Kennedy's establishment of Alliance for Progress to wipe out Communism in the sixties. The central narrative thread that unites the broader historical events throughout the picture involves the interaction of three partially fictionalized characters: Lieutenant Maluco - a Department of Administrative Security Officer; El Pollo - a Cuban troublemaker who stirred up incendiary political conflicts in the mid-fifties; and Pulgarín, a corrupt-to-the-bone police lieutenant.
anti-Communism, Colombia, drug-trade, economy, marijuana, political-unrest